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How Do I Choose the Best Popcorn Toppings?

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  • Written By: Nicole Etolen
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2016
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Air-popped popcorn and other light varieties can make a great, low-calorie snack, but at times, plain popcorn just isn’t all that inspiring. Butter is the most popular popcorn flavor booster, but it also adds a lot of fat and calories. Many other different types of popcorn toppings can be just as satisfying and are much healthier. Your personal tastes and cravings will determine which topping you choose, but the options are as limitless as your imagination.

Herbs, spices, and other flavors in a finely ground powder form are popular choices for commercial popcorn toppings found in store. You can usually find these in the same aisle as the popcorn itself. Typically, these toppings are low in fat and calories, but be sure to look at the nutrition label if you are on a specific diet. Also, note that many commercial toppings contain processed foods or man-made chemicals to enhance and preserve the flavors, so check the ingredients list if you are trying to avoid such foods.

Rather than purchasing commercial popcorn toppings, try making your own. Sprinkle garlic powder, oregano, or ground basil over your popcorn to satisfy your cravings for savory foods. If you are craving something a little sweeter, cinnamon mixed with a small amount of low-calorie sugar substitute makes a good choice. You may need to spray your popcorn with a little low fat or fat-free butter alternative, such as cooking spray, to get the herbs and spices to stick.

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If you are feeling adventurous or craving something hot and spicy, try using fresh or canned jalapeno peppers as popcorn toppings. Drain the peppers first so the juice doesn’t make your popcorn soggy, and then spoon the peppers over top of it in a bowl. Other spicy alternatives include crushed black or red pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and horseradish.

Shredded or grated cheese makes good popcorn toppings and adds a different texture to the mix. Cheddar is a popular choice, but mozzarella or grated Parmesan also go great with popcorn. If you are on a low-fat diet, choose the light versions of the cheese and use sparingly. Unless you like your cheese melted, let your popcorn cool down completely before adding the cheese.

Instead of putting out chips and pretzels at your next family movie night or social gathering, try a “choose your own popcorn toppings” bar. To make one, just place air-popped popcorn in large bowls on a table and set out a variety of toppings. This allows you and your guests to try a variety of toppings and get a better idea of which ones you like for future reference.

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Discuss this Article

Hazali
Post 3

Not surprisingly, I find that some brands of popcorn taste a lot better than others. For example, while the movie theater style is actually pretty good, some brands (such as the ones you put in the microwave), can be rather tasteless. However, this isn't because of the lack of toppings, it's just that like a lot of products, some variations are more generic than others.

Krunchyman
Post 2

In my opinion, popcorn is something that you can enjoy during the Holidays as well, although it's not the "normal" kind. Usually at malls and specialty stores, you can see vendors selling caramel flavored popcorn during the Holidays. That's what I enjoy about popcorn the most. Though it doesn't appeal to everyone, even with all the flavors, it still has enough variety with the toppings, and that's one of the reasons why it sells well. In fact, look at it this way. Do you think it would be as popular if there was only one brand? I doubt it.

Viranty
Post 1

For people who don't like popcorn because they think it's bland, there's actually quite a bit of variety available, and the toppings can really change your opinion. For example, even though I don't like popcorn, I order it whenever I go to the movie theater. The reason is because of the butter topping. What seems to start off as bland and tasteless quickly changes into something movie lovers can enjoy.

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